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On 11/9/2018 at 12:24 PM, Ryn said:

The difficulty that comes from practicing law in the UK comes in the training after law school. Law school itself is about as difficult as a general undergrad, maybe a bit more challenging (I’m speaking generally, not of the “elite” UK schools).

[For context, I'm British and did a undergrad at an 'elite' university in the UK and am now doing a law degree in Canada having moved here.]

I think the thing that Canadians on this board don't appreciate about law in England, is that unless you go to an 'elite' school, the chances of you actually becoming a lawyer are very slim. So, while it is certainly true that you can drift through a law degree at many universities, and work no harder than your average undergrad student in Canada, if you actually want to get a job at the end of it, it really helps to go to Oxbridge, or one of the next 4 or 5 ranked universities, and it's safe to say my friends doing law at Oxbridge worked as hard or harder than I do in law school.

As Ryn said, the challenge in the UK isn't getting into a law degree, it's finding a training contract at the other end, which is much harder. 

Not to say that you couldn't get a legal job after graduating from Leicester, I'm sure people do, but it it would be an uphill battle and it it would be a very long way down my list of prospective universities if I were trying to find a job in a city in England. To the point that I probably wouldn't waste the money if it were the only school i could get into. 

(Probably the fact that Leicester markets so heavily to Canadians should be indicative of the fact that they don't have enough people applying... or possibly that they're money grabbing for international fees) 

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9 hours ago, groovymoose said:

[For context, I'm British and did a undergrad at an 'elite' university in the UK and am now doing a law degree in Canada having moved here.]

I think the thing that Canadians on this board don't appreciate about law in England, is that unless you go to an 'elite' school, the chances of you actually becoming a lawyer are very slim. So, while it is certainly true that you can drift through a law degree at many universities, and work no harder than your average undergrad student in Canada, if you actually want to get a job at the end of it, it really helps to go to Oxbridge, or one of the next 4 or 5 ranked universities, and it's safe to say my friends doing law at Oxbridge worked as hard or harder than I do in law school.

As Ryn said, the challenge in the UK isn't getting into a law degree, it's finding a training contract at the other end, which is much harder. 

Not to say that you couldn't get a legal job after graduating from Leicester, I'm sure people do, but it it would be an uphill battle and it it would be a very long way down my list of prospective universities if I were trying to find a job in a city in England. To the point that I probably wouldn't waste the money if it were the only school i could get into. 

(Probably the fact that Leicester markets so heavily to Canadians should be indicative of the fact that they don't have enough people applying... or possibly that they're money grabbing for international fees) 

I've tried to explain this but it usually ends with someone telling me I'm a crashing snob. I have former university classmates with seemingly impractical degrees (Mediaeval History, Theology, Classics, etc) who had no trouble landing jobs in law, merchant banking, or whatever. It's where you studied that counts...Leicester is actually better than most-- some Canadians are paying a small fortune to attend ex-polys. 

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^correct me if I am wrong, but don't major UK employers for law actually not care if you have an LLB because they rather you have a first class or a 2.1 in any subject? Then from there you'd do the GDL/lpc and at the end of your TC you'd be able to practice once completing those courses?  In a way this actually makes more sense than the Canadian way.  Let the employer first hire you, then get your "papers to practice law" which drastically reduces the likelihood of excess unemployed grads and degree mills.

 

The thing I find odd, with the heavy suspicion of UK law schools is many of them rank higher than even what are considered top Canadian law schools and within their own markets lead to better paying jobs at magic circle firms than are even attainable from Canada for the most part. The top 8 UK (66 million people) law schools which is the best 8 law school in a population twice that of Canada accept around 1900 students compared to all ontario (14 million people) law schools that accept around 1500 people.  I somehow find it hard to believe that a student in the top 1% of 66 million people in the students is somehow some less qualified than a person in the top 5% of Canada.

 

In fact the evidence that UK schools at the top tend to beat Canada in the rankings generally seems to suggest the opposite.  Worst off, the people I see getting into Canadian law schools with high averages from universities are usually taking fluff programs to pad their gpa, medieval studies, women studies, gender studies, feminism studies, sociology, geography, communications, art history, fine arts, mass media, anthropology, religious studies, and English.  They typically had weak GPAs (and poor math skills) coming out of high school and these fluff programs were the only ones they could get into rather than direct entry professional programs like engineering, bcoms, stems, and hard sciences.

 

If the argument goes that Canadian law students have a first degree where they got an A or near A therefore it makes them a strong candidate. Then could one point to the fact they were mediocre high school students who went to sub-standard university programs and competed against even lower standard students than themselves and got A simple due to the bell curve.

 

From what I've seen, the highest GPAs in Canadian undergrad is typically just dolled out towards the students competing in the easiest programs.  Sure there are 1-2 engineers or business guys who will score the 4.0 in their competitive program.  But if I was advising someone, I'd point them to if you want to get into the best law schools, you want to get a 4.0 GPA, don't challenge yourself, find a school that has a 65% cut off like Trent gender studies and you'll be set.

 

SAd state of affairs.

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14 minutes ago, Iyaiaey said:

Worst off, the people I see getting into Canadian law schools with high averages from universities are usually taking fluff programs to pad their gpa, medieval studies, women studies, gender studies, feminism studies, sociology, geography, communications, art history, fine arts, mass media, anthropology, religious studies, and English.  They typically had weak GPAs (and poor math skills) coming out of high school and these fluff programs were the only ones they could get into rather than direct entry professional programs like engineering, bcoms, stems, and hard sciences.

 

If the argument goes that Canadian law students have a first degree where they got an A or near A therefore it makes them a strong candidate. Then could one point to the fact they were mediocre high school students who went to sub-standard university programs and competed against even lower standard students than themselves and got A simple due to the bell curve.

 

From what I've seen, the highest GPAs in Canadian undergrad is typically just dolled out towards the students competing in the easiest programs.  Sure there are 1-2 engineers or business guys who will score the 4.0 in their competitive program.  But if I was advising someone, I'd point them to if you want to get into the best law schools, you want to get a 4.0 GPA, don't challenge yourself, find a school that has a 65% cut off like Trent gender studies and you'll be set.

 

SAd state of affairs.

I did a Bcomm and took courses in those majors you mentioned, to enrich my education. My Bcomm classes were as challenging, and sometimes easier, than those other classes. I couldn't believe I was expected to write two 6-8 page essays by hand, closed book, on 5 books we had read that semester. That's in contrast to my finance class which had a one page crib sheet allowance, and a calculator just to make it that much easier.

There are no fluff programs in university. To suggest that some high school programs are more challenging/difficult to get an A average in (or the equivalent) than a university program is just so far off the base that I dont know what to say. And I'm saying that having gone to an enriched stem program for high school who was notorious for grade deflation.

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1 hour ago, Iyaiaey said:

medieval studies, women studies, gender studies, feminism studies, sociology, geography, communications, art history, fine arts, mass media, anthropology, religious studies, and English

To call historic disciplines with centuries of thought and scholarship “fluff programs” is hugely ignorant. Most of your argument is very similarly misinformed. 

Also, no one has said that UK schools are bad schools. Maybe some of them are but certainly not all of them. It’s just bad from the perspective of becoming a Canadian lawyer. 

I also don’t buy the 1%/5% argument. Let’s set aside the issue with the fact that admission numbers alone say nothing about how challenging a program is, Canadian law schools only admit students who scored highly in undergrad. UK law schools are first-entry undergraduate degrees, which means they admit students who scored highly in secondary school. So it would make sense the pool is larger and thus the requirements are higher and are relative to the rigour of secondary school. 

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8 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

I did a Bcomm and took courses in those majors you mentioned, to enrich my education. My Bcomm classes were as challenging, and sometimes easier, than those other classes. I couldn't believe I was expected to write two 6-8 page essays by hand, closed book, on 5 books we had read that semester. That's in contrast to my finance class which had a one page crib sheet allowance, and a calculator just to make it that much easier.

There are no fluff programs in university. To suggest that some high school programs are more challenging/difficult to get an A average in (or the equivalent) than a university program is just so far off the base that I dont know what to say. And I'm saying that having gone to an enriched stem program for high school who was notorious for grade deflation.

I think people have different strengths, the fact you found writing courses more challenging doesn't change that for most people, they'd find an upper year finance course to be more challenging than a basketweaving gender studies course.

 

I do recall that ESL speakers, many of whom were very smart people, did poorly in writing courses and found them challenging, but I know very few smart people who have strong writing and math skills, who would say finance is the easy course and gender studies and communications are just so hard.  Go look at an anti-calendar or "bird courses at York" see how many finance courses are on there as being "Easy" compared to the large number of soft art courses.

 

Yeah, I'd argue it is much harder to get an A in a high school class curved to a B average with several smart kids than a class at Trent where the average kid has a 65% as their average from high school.  Are you really trying to argue C students become geniuses the second they walk on to a Trent campus?

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7 hours ago, Ryn said:

To call historic disciplines with centuries of thought and scholarship “fluff programs” is hugely ignorant. Most of your argument is very similarly misinformed. 

Also, no one has said that UK schools are bad schools. Maybe some of them are but certainly not all of them. It’s just bad from the perspective of becoming a Canadian lawyer. 

I also don’t buy the 1%/5% argument. Let’s set aside the issue with the fact that admission numbers alone say nothing about how challenging a program is, Canadian law schools only admit students who scored highly in undergrad. UK law schools are first-entry undergraduate degrees, which means they admit students who scored highly in secondary school. So it would make sense the pool is larger and thus the requirements are higher and are relative to the rigour of secondary school. 

They are fluff programs made of fluff courses.  Do you know what a fluff program is?

"A "Fluff Major" is when a student picks a course of study that is easy, so that they do not have to take a job or be challenged by the "hardness" of the courses."

Those are not challenging courses, we all know it.  I'm sure there are centuries of thought and scholarship into plenty of areas that are also fluff courses.

Why do you believe admission numbers say nothing about how challenging a program is?

Canadian law school is a 2nd-entry undergrad degree, that does not require a full on undergrad degree.  So the argument that they admit strong undergrads is spurious.  Further, when you can get into a school like Trent and do a basketweaving degree and "game the system" at the undergrad level, I'd question how valuable those "high scores in undergrad gpas" truly are?

 

I will agree with you that, the evidence suggest Canadian employers in the legal sector rightly or wrongly look down or UK degrees even from schools that rank better than our own.

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25 minutes ago, Iyaiaey said:

They are fluff programs made of fluff courses.  Do you know what a fluff program is?

"A "Fluff Major" is when a student picks a course of study that is easy, so that they do not have to take a job or be challenged by the "hardness" of the courses."

Those are not challenging courses, we all know it.  I'm sure there are centuries of thought and scholarship into plenty of areas that are also fluff courses.

Why do you believe admission numbers say nothing about how challenging a program is?

Canadian law school is a 2nd-entry undergrad degree, that does not require a full on undergrad degree.  So the argument that they admit strong undergrads is spurious.  Further, when you can get into a school like Trent and do a basketweaving degree and "game the system" at the undergrad level, I'd question how valuable those "high scores in undergrad gpas" truly are?

 

I will agree with you that, the evidence suggest Canadian employers in the legal sector rightly or wrongly look down or UK degrees even from schools that rank better than our own.

You must be a darn hoot at parties!

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16 minutes ago, Iyaiaey said:

They are fluff programs made of fluff courses.  Do you know what a fluff program is?

"A "Fluff Major" is when a student picks a course of study that is easy, so that they do not have to take a job or be challenged by the "hardness" of the courses."

Those are not challenging courses, we all know it.  I'm sure there are centuries of thought and scholarship into plenty of areas that are also fluff courses.

Why do you believe admission numbers say nothing about how challenging a program is?

Canadian law school is a 2nd-entry undergrad degree, that does not require a full on undergrad degree.  So the argument that they admit strong undergrads is spurious.  Further, when you can get into a school like Trent and do a basketweaving degree and "game the system" at the undergrad level, I'd question how valuable those "high scores in undergrad gpas" truly are?

 

I will agree with you that, the evidence suggest Canadian employers in the legal sector rightly or wrongly look down or UK degrees even from schools that rank better than our own.

You realize you’re not making an argument, right? You’re just declaring something to be true and asking us to assume you are right. 

I know what a fluff program and course is. I don’t believe that English, History, Sociology, or any of the majors you’ve listed qualify as such, and I think it’s stupid that you assume we’ll just accept your assertion that they are. (“These are not challenging and we know it” — give me a break)

And yes, it is possible to get into a Canadian law school without having completed undergrad, but it’s pretty rare. Only a few students out of the thousands that apply succeed at doing so. At Osgoode, I think the numbers were in the 2% range. So I would say that the requirement is still to generally have good university grades. And that’s the point, because the minimum requirement is still two years of university. That’s what you’ll be judged against. Contrast that to the UK, where the barometer is secondary school marks, and you will find it is not all that surprising that UK law schools have to be vastly more selective, since getting high marks in secondary school is substantially easier than undergrad. In other words, you are attempting to equate two things that are unfortunately not comparable.

Lastly, leaving aside the hyperbole of the “underwater basket weaving” degree at Trent, are some universities objectively easier than others? Probably. Though likely not to a measurable point, which is the whole reason law schools generally don’t distinguish between institutions their applicants attended. 

Finally, to address your question, I believe admission numbers don’t tell the full story because they don’t show anything about the applicant pool. What kinds of people are applying to said institution? Poor students? Exceptional students? An even spread? What’s the interest like generally? If I hold a class on underwater basket weaving and only accept one out of the 100 people who apply, and they’re all aspiring basketweavers, by your definition I’d have one of the most selective programs in the country. See? The numbers don’t lie. 

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Iyaiaey said:

find a school that has a 65% cut off like Trent gender studies and you'll be set.

41 minutes ago, Iyaiaey said:

Trent

33 minutes ago, Iyaiaey said:

a school like Trent

My parents went to Trent and wanted me to go Trent. This is still the most anyone has ever talked about Trent. 

Edited by realpseudonym
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10 hours ago, Ryn said:

You realize you’re not making an argument, right? You’re just declaring something to be true and asking us to assume you are right. 

I know what a fluff program and course is. I don’t believe that English, History, Sociology, or any of the majors you’ve listed qualify as such, and I think it’s stupid that you assume we’ll just accept your assertion that they are. (“These are not challenging and we know it” — give me a break)

And yes, it is possible to get into a Canadian law school without having completed undergrad, but it’s pretty rare. Only a few students out of the thousands that apply succeed at doing so. At Osgoode, I think the numbers were in the 2% range. So I would say that the requirement is still to generally have good university grades. And that’s the point, because the minimum requirement is still two years of university. That’s what you’ll be judged against. Contrast that to the UK, where the barometer is secondary school marks, and you will find it is not all that surprising that UK law schools have to be vastly more selective, since getting high marks in secondary school is substantially easier than undergrad. In other words, you are attempting to equate two things that are unfortunately not comparable.

Lastly, leaving aside the hyperbole of the “underwater basket weaving” degree at Trent, are some universities objectively easier than others? Probably. Though likely not to a measurable point, which is the whole reason law schools generally don’t distinguish between institutions their applicants attended

Finally, to address your question, I believe admission numbers don’t tell the full story because they don’t show anything about the applicant pool. What kinds of people are applying to said institution? Poor students? Exceptional students? An even spread? What’s the interest like generally? If I hold a class on underwater basket weaving and only accept one out of the 100 people who apply, and they’re all aspiring basketweavers, by your definition I’d have one of the most selective programs in the country. See? The numbers don’t lie. 

What is the criteria in which you set to establish that would constitute a fluff program?  

I've seen the quality of work coming from these students... I am in a position to call them fluff. Please do, tell me what a fluff program is if I am so wrong on it.  Tell me the majors...???

"since getting high marks in secondary school is substantially easier than undergrad." -

You expect me to just accept this because you are declaring it to be so?  That isn't an argument, it is no different than the statement I put forward about fluff programs.

 

"Lastly, leaving aside the hyperbole of the “underwater basket weaving” degree at Trent, are some universities objectively  easier than others? Probably. Though likely not to a measurable point, which is the whole  reason law schools generally don’t distinguish between institutions their applicants attended"

Except med schools are now doing precisely this, because they have caught on to students pulling this stunt.

 

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10 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

You must be a darn hoot at parties!

Why would that be?

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3 hours ago, Iyaiaey said:

You expect me to just accept this because you are declaring it to be so?  That isn't an argument, it is no different than the statement I put forward about fluff programs.

Nice try, but it isn’t the same thing. Are you really arguing that high school is no more challenging than university? That getting an A in high school is the same as in an undergraduate program?

3 hours ago, Iyaiaey said:

I've seen the quality of work coming from these students... I am in a position to call them fluff. Please do, tell me what a fluff program is if I am so wrong on it.  Tell me the majors...???

Are you a professor or something? Or have you just worked in groups with some classmates and been surprised at what marks they achieved — which, in your opinion, were unearned?

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23 minutes ago, Ryn said:

Nice try, but it isn’t the same thing. Are you really arguing that high school is no more challenging than university? That getting an A in high school is the same as in an undergraduate program?

Are you a professor or something? Or have you just worked in groups with some classmates and been surprised at what marks they achieved — which, in your opinion, were unearned?

It actually is the same.  There are fluff courses, you are ducking all the questions on what a fluff major is, please do, tell me, if it isn't medieval history, or 13th century russian literature, or communications, tell me what they are. Because if no one can identify them, you should just come out and say you don't think there are any fluff courses.

I worked as a TA, I'm a social person, there are entire guides written about bird courses, I've seen the low quality of students work from other programs and faculties (and the high quality).  I've been on exchange, I seen students from Queen's produce high quality work and I've been around enough to see low quality work from Trenters.

 

There are definitely high schools far more challenging than university level work from fluff courses and places like Trent that let people into programs where the AVERAGE grade is a 65%.  These kids can barely form a sentence correctly.  Do you realize how dumb you have to be to get a 65% average in high school?

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19 minutes ago, Iyaiaey said:

There are fluff courses, you are ducking all the questions on what a fluff major is, please do, tell me, if it isn't medieval history, or 13th century russian literature, or communications, tell me what they are. Because if no one can identify them, you should just come out and say you don't think there are any fluff courses.

I’ll agree that there are fluff courses, sure. Meteorology I at my school was a famous one (and one I took in third year as a welcome break from an otherwise gruelling schedule). But I don’t believe there are entire fluff majors, which would entail four entire years of non-rigorous easy-A courses where little to no scholarship happens. 

It’s very clear you have a disdain for the humanities but just because you dislike it and you assume a program therein is easy does not make it so. I’ll accept that in the first year of some programs, perhaps even in second year, there is potential for easy courses. But in upper years that basically all but disappears. But honestly the same can be said for many non-humanities majors. I went to business school and first year classes were pretty easy to do well in. 

27 minutes ago, Iyaiaey said:

There are definitely high schools far more challenging than university level work from fluff courses and places like Trent that let people into programs where the AVERAGE grade is a 65%.  These kids can barely form a sentence correctly.  Do you realize how dumb you have to be to get a 65% average in high school?

If there are high schools more challenging than universities, which I’m disputing but I’ll entertain for the moment, they are so few in number that it shouldn’t even be a factor in a discussion about this issue. 

You seem to hate Trent but are only espousing what I understand to be stereotypes about the school. Do we have actual stats about the range of students the school admits and the average marks of a graduate? I’ll accept that Trent isn’t U of T but it also isn’t some school that graduates people with 1.0 GPAs, even after adjusting for grade inflation. 

Lastly, I’d say performance in high school is a good predictor of university performance but not determinative. There are many people who do much better in university than high school, me being one. I was a terrible high school student but did very well in university (and no, before you ask, I didn’t go to Trent). It isn’t all that unusual for others to be similar, though I’ll accept that it doesn’t happen to a majority.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Iyaiaey said:

There are fluff courses, you are ducking all the questions on what a fluff major is, please do, tell me, if it isn't medieval history, or 13th century russian literature, or communications, tell me what they are. Because if no one can identify them, you should just come out and say you don't think there are any fluff courses.

Difficulty isn’t necessarily the result of subject matter alone.

Even if thirteenth century Russian literature is objectively easy to understand (and I don’t think that’s true), then grading standards, course requirements, evaluation design, the strength of your classmates, and the curve all still influence the likelihood of achieving a high grade. Courses can be difficult, even in a relatively straightforward field.

In fact, I think law would arguably be a fluff degree, if you were just looking at the subject matter. Compared to a field like foreign policy, where outcomes result from a complex interplay between historical trajectories, national identity, macroeconomic conditions, domestic politics, individual leadership, etc, analyzing legislation and jurisprudence is relatively simple.

Law school isn’t actually easy (although it’s certainly not the most difficult discipline) because you’re competing against relatively capable and motivated peers, in tightly controlled testing conditions. Which is largely why most law schools don’t weigh stats against degree difficulty — measuring degree difficulty isn’t nearly as straightforward as you suggest. You would need to make a lot of assumptions that aren’t born out by empirical data available to adcoms (like that the students at Trent underperform their competition at other schools, that the marking is lax, that the subject matter isn’t complex, etc).

Anyway, I don’t know why were arguing about relative degree difficulty again, but those are my two cents. 

Edited by realpseudonym

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